Reducing Downtime for Testing a Priority for the IndustryFri, 01/24/2020 - 09:07
Q: What role do optic technologies play in Mahr’s product strategy compared to tactile solutions?
A: Optic measuring equipment will play a key role in Mahr’s product portfolio for 2019 and 2020 and we expect these products to complement our current product offering. Customers have developed a taste for optic metrology equipment, which has spurred high demand for these solutions. Mahr has noticed that client companies no longer want to take samples from production lines and take them to metrology labs for measurement.
The new trend is to take measurements directly on the production floor, thus avoiding wasted time transporting sample parts to and from metrology labs. Additionally, knowing whether parts meet customers’ specifications and the ability to adjust machines accordingly in real time makes operations much more efficient. To address this demand, one of Mahr’s divisions focuses on engineering customized, turn-key metrology solutions for the specific needs of clients’ production lines.
Q: What is Mahr’s strategy to add new equipment to its product portfolio?
A: Our strategy is twofold. Mahr’s R&D centers collaborate with several universities in Germany and the US to develop new technologies. Mahr has developed a series of wireless measurement technologies that set us apart in segments such as measuring hand tools. The other side of our strategy consists of acquiring new companies and adding new technologies to our portfolio. In terms of optic metrology, we have added new interferometry devices that combine the use of light, laser and cameras to make high-precision measurements. Another acquisition enables the company to measure surface finishes and roughness using cutting-edge optic equipment.
Q: What advantages can Mahr’s wireless equipment offer to automotive companies?
A: Users of metrology equipment are interested in constantly collecting and studying data from the manufacturing floor. However, operators working directly on the production line often measure incorrectly or altogether forget to measure components or to register their measurements. The wireless transmitters in Mahr’s equipment prevent human mistakes when measuring parts or capturing data. The data these devices generate is exported directly to the company’s quality system, which eliminates a company’s dependency on operators.
Q: How would you describe the ideal customer for Mahr’s metrology equipment?
A: As a global German company, Mahr’s main target customers are manufacturing companies committed to quality and willing to invest in technology that will help them to strengthen confidence with their customers due to the partnerships that help them to assure great performance as an added value to the end user. Mahr also targets Mexican companies with a strong presence in the automotive and aerospace industries and new Tier 2 suppliers that are developing their supplier base.
It is challenging for Mahr to supply directly to Japanese companies, especially since our main competitor is a Japanese company. Some Japanese suppliers have opened their doors to us because they are interested in the company’s new measuring technologies. In other cases, we supply them indirectly through different sales channels like dealership and catalog partners, which are local and global industrial distributors that have already entered the supplier base for different companies.
Q: What is Mahr’s strategy to boost the implementation of new technologies at all levels of the supply chain?
A: We remain close to our global clients to easily identify their current and future needs and act accordingly. Remaining close to customers helps Mahr solve its customers’ metrology needs as they trust the company’s Mexico subsidiary to service their operations locally. This also helps us introduce customers to the new technologies we develop. The fact that a company produces a part does not necessarily mean that it knows how to measure it. Mahr takes advantage of its technical service department to cover value-added areas, such as equipment installation and calibration, as well as training of operators that will use the devices.
Q: How does Mahr work to raise awareness of the advantages of its metrology offering?
A: Aside from Mahr’s global accounts, each national subsidiary has a series of key and target accounts that includes both companies that Mahr supports locally and important companies that Mahr wants to target. To reach the latter, we schedule meetings to present the advantages of our metrology equipment and offer training on dimensional metrology. It is tough for Mahr to reach all automotive companies in Mexico directly; the company relies on a network of 60 distributors that help it cover a larger territory and target more potential customers, including Mexican SMEs.
Mexican companies often lack access to metrology equipment, so we approach them to present our product and services portfolio. Mahr offers a family of affordable, basic devices, including handheld tools to combat the high initial investment needed to implement new technology. We also have created agreements with financing companies that offer credits for attractive amounts to SMEs so they can purchase new equipment. Before, access to credit was limited to large companies but now SMEs also have access and usually at preferential rates. Mahr’s Mexico subsidiary also established a price strategy to make its products attractive for our distributors, so marketing Mahr equipment can be attractive to them.
Q: How important is the North American market for Mahr’s global operations?
A: About 20 years ago, Mahr was a largely unknown competitor in North America but thanks to the merger with US-based Federal Products in 1999, Mahr was able to grow its position. We now have several equipment manufacturing locations and service centers in the US and we are building our presence in Canada. Mahr has been present in Mexico for 22 years and we consider the country a strategic market thanks both to its direct vicinity to the US and to its wide FTA network. We can cover the Central American and Caribbean markets from Mexico.
We are pondering opening two new regional offices to increase our coverage. In Mexico, Mahr only has offices in Monterrey and a team overseeing sales and service in most industrial zones.